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Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 02, 2024 at 12:56 pm
Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition Picture
6.3
Music
5.7
Videos/Movies
7.1
Podcasts
5.8
Voice Assistant
6.7
Outdoors

The Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition promises to deliver solid build quality and powerful sound within a sleek, compact format. The manufacturer advertises a battery life that's 20% longer than its predecessor, the Bose SoundLink Mini II, and it features voice assistant support. However, you'll have to rely on your mobile device for this. Unlike the Bose SoundLink Color II, this version omits companion app compatibility, so you have to input all controls using the buttons on the top panel.

Our Verdict

6.3 Music

The Bose SoundLink Mini 2 is okay for listening to music, thanks to its relatively balanced default sound profile. Like other small speakers, it lacks low-bass, but in this case, it has a punchy high-bass response that still works well for genres like EDM and hip-hop. The mid-range is fairly neutral and adds plenty of detail to voices and lead instruments, supplemented by a bright treble response that brings out upper harmonics. While it's able to play audio in stereo, without downmixing to mono, its directivity is sub-par so audio won't sound consistent across all listening angles. It also gets quite loud, but some compression artifacts are present at max volume.

Pros
  • Balanced default sound profile.
  • Gets pretty loud.
Cons
  • Poor directivity.
  • No graphic EQ or presets.
5.7 Videos/Movies

The Bose SoundLink Mini is disappointing for videos and movies, though it's not intended for this purpose. While its lack of low-bass rumble takes some of the excitement away from cinematic sequences, the detailed mids and highs mean that dialogue has plenty of detail and clarity. However, its narrow soundstage and sub-par directivity mean you'll struggle to get consistent sound from all angles. Its Bluetooth latency with Android and iOS devices is also high enough to experience sync issues between the audio and video when watching video content on a paired device.

Pros
  • Balanced default sound profile.
Cons
  • Poor directivity.
  • No graphic EQ or presets.
7.1 Podcasts

The Bose SoundLink Mini 2 is decent for podcasts. It has a balanced mid-range response that reproduces vocals and speech with detail and clarity. It's also portable enough to carry around the house if you want to take your favorite podcasts on the move. However, it has poor directivity, so you'll need to ensure you're positioned in front of the speaker to ensure consistent sound. While it's loud enough for you to listen to a podcast in your kitchen, it's still unable to fill a large room with sound.

Pros
  • Balanced default sound profile.
  • Gets pretty loud.
Cons
  • Poor directivity.
  • No graphic EQ or presets.
5.8 Voice Assistant

The Bose SoundLink Mini doesn't have built-in voice assistant support. However, you can pair it with a voice assistant-enabled smartphone to use the assistant through your device. While it isn't compatible with Alexa, it does a great job of picking up your voice from across the room when using Siri or Google Assistant.

Pros
  • Gets pretty loud.
Cons
  • No built-in voice assistants.
  • No Alexa compatibility.
6.7 Outdoors

The Bose SoundLink Mini 2 is alright for outdoor use. It's small and portable enough to take with you for hikes or camping trips. Although it has a sturdy build quality, it doesn't have a rating against dust or water damage, so you'll want to be careful with it near bodies of water or rain. While it has a reasonably long continuous battery life, it won't get you through a full-day hike without needing to recharge.

Pros
  • Balanced default sound profile.
  • Gets pretty loud.
  • Compact and portable design.
Cons
  • No rating against dust or water damage.
  • Poor directivity.
  • 6.3 Music
  • 5.7 Videos/Movies
  • 7.1 Podcasts
  • 5.8 Voice Assistant
  • 6.7 Outdoors
  1. Updated Feb 02, 2024: Review published.
  2. Updated Jan 29, 2024: Early access published.
  3. Updated Jan 23, 2024: Our testers have started testing this product.
  4. Updated Jan 22, 2024: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  5. Updated Jan 08, 2024: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.
  6. Updated Jan 07, 2024: The product has won our suggestion poll, so we'll buy and test it soon.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition is the latest iteration of the SoundLink Mini series of portable, wireless speakers. It comes in two color variants: 'Triple Black' and 'Luxe Silver', We tested the 'Triple Black' variant, but we expect other colors to perform similarly. You can see our unit's label here.

If you encounter a variant not listed here, let us know in the forums so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Bose SoundLink Mini 2 SE is the next generation of the Bose SoundLink Mini II. While its advertised battery life has increased by 20%, and it now features a USB-C charging port, it lacks the previous generation's ability to adjust settings using the Bose Connect app. It has a more balanced sound than the Bose SoundLink Color II but lacks the IPX4 rating for water resistance. The manufacturer also produces the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II, which offers a more rugged build quality and better directivity in a slightly heavier format. Sadly, this speaker lacks the kind of room correction features seen in premium smart speakers at this price point, like the Sonos Roam's TruePlay function.

See also our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best Bose speakers, and the best small Bluetooth speakers.

Bose SoundLink Flex

The Bose SoundLink Flex is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition. Both speakers are highly portable and have similarly balanced sound profiles that lack low bass but feature detailed and accurate mids. They even have very similar continuous battery life performances. However, the SoundLink Flex has a better build quality and is rated IPX7 for submersion in water. It also has companion app compatibility, which lets you pair it up with another SoundLink speaker for True Wireless Sound (TWS).

JBL Charge 5

The JBL Charge 5 is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition. While the JBL has a more narrow soundstage and downmixes stereo content to mono, its battery life is twice as long, and it has a more rugged build quality, including an IPx7 rating for submersion in water. It also has companion app compatibility and can be linked to other JBL speakers via the PartyBoost function. That said, unlike the Bose, it lacks any voice assistant integration.

Sonos Roam/Roam SL

The Sonos Roam and the Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition are similar speakers with slightly different strengths. Both are very portable and have similar default sound profiles, although you can adjust the bass and treble levels on the Sonos via the companion app. The Sonos is also better built and features built-in Alexa and Google Assistant integration. The Bose has a longer continuous battery life, supports multi-device pairing, and can get a little louder with less compression at max volume.

Bose SoundLink Color II

The Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition and the Bose SoundLink Color II have similar strengths, with only slight differences. They're both portable speakers that are similarly well-built. The SoundLink Mini has a more balanced default sound profile, with a less veiled treble response that adds a nice high-end sparkle to vocals and lead instruments. However, the SoundLink Color has a longer continuous battery life, better sound directivity, and an IPx4 rating for protection against water splashes.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Bose SoundLink Mini 2 is a small, rectangular speaker that's designed to sit horizontally. Its sleek design and small form factor mean that it'll easily blend into your home decor. It comes in two color variants: 'Triple Black' and 'Luxe Silver'.

9.4
Design
Portability
Volume
32 inยณ (531 cmยณ)
Weight
1.5 lbs (0.7 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

This speaker is exceptionally portable. It's very small and lightweight and can easily be carried around in one hand or in a small bag. It's also battery-powered, so it can be used on the go without access to an outlet.

7.3
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
No
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
Yes (IK rating unspecified)
Floats In Water
No

This speaker has decent build quality. Its housing is constructed from one solid piece of aluminum, with a rubber surface on the bottom that's designed to provide a stable foundation on the surface it's placed on. The solid aluminum construction adds a nice heft to the speaker, considering its diminutive size, which makes it feel sturdy and solid. There are metal grilles on both the front and the back that house the drivers and bass radiators, respectively, and the rubber buttons on the top feel nice and responsive. Overall, this speaker indicates Bose's usual commitment to good build quality. Unfortunately, it's not rated for any level of protection against dust or water damage.

8.9
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
Yes (Physical)
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
Yes (Physical)
Additional Controls
Yes

This speaker has excellent controls. The simple button layout is intuitive and user-friendly, with some buttons that have multiple functions. There's a power button, buttons for adjusting the volume, a multi-function button, and a Bluetooth button (which glows when a device is connected). The buttons are tactile and responsive, and there's even voice assistant functionality through your smartphone. You can hold the multi-function button to activate your smartphone's voice assistant, and you can also use it to switch between two calls, turn off speakerphone, and transfer the call to the phone it was connected to.

There are also clear voice prompts that indicate that you're pairing with the speaker via Bluetooth and which device you're connected to, as well as when the auto-off function is enabled or disabled. It tells you the battery level when the speaker's turned on, but you can also hold the power button for this information. Additionally, there are visual indicators for when the speaker is connected via Bluetooth or the AUX input, as well as for the battery level. Unfortunately, there's no audible feedback for lowering or raising the volume.

Design
In The Box

  • Bose SoundLink Mini II Special Edition speaker
  • USB-A to USB-C cable (length: 3.3 ft / 1 m)
  • User Manual

Sound
6.6
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.23
Std. Err.
2.89 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
68.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
13.3 kHz

This speaker has okay frequency response accuracy. Like many smaller speakers, it struggles to reproduce low-bass frequencies, so your audio lacks boom and rumble. However, the high bass is quite prominent, so kicks and bass instruments still have enough punch to cut through a mix. The mid-range is balanced and accurate, so vocal-centric content, like podcasts, sounds smooth and detailed. Unfortunately, there are no sound customization features, so you can't tailor the sound profile to your liking.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
6.3
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
7.00 dB
Stereo
Yes

The soundstage performance is reasonable. It can play stereo content without downmixing to mono, but its directivity is disappointing, so you won't get a consistent sound when listening at different angles around the speaker. There's also a lot of overemphasis in the treble range, so the sound might seem brighter from different angles.

6.4
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
86.3 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.82 dB

This speaker has adequate dynamics. Though it can get reasonably loud for a small speaker, there are quite a few compression artifacts present at a max volume that create a pumping effect in audio playback.

Active Features
6.4
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
6.8 hrs
Charge Time
3.9 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
USB-C
Battery Powered
Yes

This speaker has an alright battery life performance. The manufacturer advertises twelve hours of continuous playback, but we tested a little under seven hours. However, it's worth noting that battery life tends to vary according to usage. It takes around 4 hours to fully charge, and you can enable a convenient power-saving auto-off feature that turns the speaker off after 30 minutes of inactivity.

5.7
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Speakerphone
Yes
Siri
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Voice Assistant
Yes
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No
Far-Field Performance
Excellent
Ambient Noise Performance
Excellent

It has a sub-par voice assistant performance. There's no built-in voice assistant functionality to the speaker, and it relies instead on your smartphone's Siri or Google Assistant features. It's also not compatible with Alexa. It does a great job of picking up on your voice even when you're on the other side of the room, but there's no option to mute the speaker's microphone for voice assistant-related features. That said, the speaker could pick up on speech cues in noisy environments slightly more easily with Google Assistant than with Siri.

0
Active Features
App
App Name
No App
iOS
No
Android
No
EQ
No
Stereo Pair Mode
No
Party Mode
No
Multi-Room
No

This speaker isn't compatible with the Bose Connect app, unlike other speakers from the same manufacturer, like the Bose SoundLink Color II or the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
Yes
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
No

This speaker has a 3.5mm AUX port to play audio via a wired connection.

8.0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Version
Unspecified
Bluetooth iOS Latency
114 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
180 ms
Bluetooth Range
183.7 ft (56.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

This speaker has great Bluetooth connectivity. It supports multi-device pairing, so you can connect up to two devices simultaneously. It also has an amazing Bluetooth range, so you can stay connected even if you're in another room. The AV synchronization error with Android devices is not bad, but you'll experience sync issues between the audio and visuals if you use it to watch videos. AV synchronization error with iOS devices is lower, but you'll still experience lip-syncing issues. However, apps compensate for this differently, so your experience may differ.

0
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
No
Apple AirPlay
No
AirPlay Latency
N/A
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A